Not many mayors appreciate a good belly rub from their constituents. But then again, most mayors aren’t orange tabbies. For over 15 years, Stubbs the cat has held the top office in Talkeetna, Alaska and his approval ratings are higher than ever.
“He doesn’t raise our taxes. He doesn’t interfere with business. He’s honest,” said Lauri Stec, manager of Nagley’s General Store, which doubles as the mayor’s office.
In naming the kitten its mayor, Talkeetna has lived up to its reputation for quirkiness. A hub for bush pilots to ferry climbers onto Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak, Talkeetna is also known for its Moose Dropping Festival, Wilderness Woman Contest and Bachelor Auction and Ball. The town served as an inspiration for the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska, in the 1990s television series “Northern Exposure,” says Trisha Costello, owner of the Talkeetna Roadhouse.
The pet politician added to Talkeetna’s allure, strutting around town like any mayor-for-life might do. He presided over Nagley’s and the adjoining West Rib Pub & Grill, catching voles and sipping water from a wine glass spiked with catnip.
Stubbs’s run of bad luck began about five years ago when teenagers opened fire with a BB gun, leaving a pellet lodged in his hindquarters. Not long after, Stubbs hitched a ride on a garbage truck, prompting an all-points-bulletin on the local radio station. He managed to jump off on the outskirts of town and make his way home. Last year, he fell into the fryer of a restaurant—fortunately when the oil was cold—requiring an all-night cleansing with dish soap.
In 2013, the mayor was out making his rounds when he was viciously attacked by a dog. Lauri Stec found him bleeding on the ground, wrapped him up and took him to a local vet. He suffered a punctured lung, broken bones, and a deep puncture wound. Mayor Stubbs fully recovered and bounced back, deciding to shake up the state’s highly competitive Senate race in 2014. He stressed his ability to relate to everyday Alaskans by referencing his brutal dog attack.
“Stubbs stands up for the issues that matter: As the survivor of a brutal assault, Stubbs knows what it’s like to fear for his life. So Stubbs is a staunch advocate of Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights,” the statement quoted.
Stubbs lost his last minute run for senate. After faithfully serving his constituents for 17 years, Stubbs decided to leave the political arena and retire. You can still find Stubbs at the Nagley’s General Store, peacefully sleeping in a basket or sipping his favorite catnip cocktail.
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